Sarah Palin Endorses Tea Party Underdog and Alligator Wrestler Rob Maness in Louisiana Senate Race

(Bill Clark/Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The Tea Party's mama grizzly is roaring again, backing a candidate who has a way, not with grizzlies, but gators.

Sarah Palin announced another endorsement today - this time in the Louisiana Senate race, throwing her support behind the non-establishment Republican candidate Rob Maness.

"In the Louisiana Senate race we have the opportunity to send a true conservative and a real warrior to join that fight. So, today I am lending my support to retired Col. Rob Maness for U.S. Senate," Palin was quoted as saying in a statement sent out by Maness' campaign.

Palin's announcement comes on the same day that Maness rolled out his first television and radio ads of the campaign cycle - a combined $50,000 buy. The television ad, titled " Gator," compares the skills needed to be an effective senator to alligator wrangling.

Maness even straddles an alligator in the ad and says, "I approve this message because Louisiana needs a senator who will stand up to the career politicians… and the alligators."

Asked if alligator wrestling is a choice of sport or just a metaphor for his ad, Maness jokingly said: "Look, all I'm going to say is that no alligators were harmed in the making of this commercial but … a few career politicians might have been."

"An alligator appears to be a dangerous animal that lies in wait to devour whatever it can, because it's always hungry, and in that way, the gators are not unlike liberal politicians," he added. "They're willing to destroy every last vestige of our liberties and our independence."

Maness, a retired Air Force colonel, has never held elected to office before and is attempting to break through in a race currently defined by incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu. She is fighting to keep her seat against Rep. Bill Cassidy, the Republican contender mostly closely trailing her in the polls.

"Rob is the admitted underdog in this race," Palin said in the statement. "Having spent his career in uniform, he does not have deep pockets or lobbyist connections to fund his campaign. To me, it's a blessing, not a curse that he's not held office before. After all, our founders weren't politicians - many of them in fact were military leaders. Maybe it's time we got back to those roots!"

Palin also took a direct jab at Cassidy attacking him as a former Reagan opponent and the establishment choice.

"The GOP establishment has turned to a moderate Congressman who opposed President Reagan in the past and was actually a supporter of Mary Landrieu until recent years," Palin said. "He voted to raise the debt ceiling, was one of 19 Republicans to vote for President Obama's hate crimes legislation, campaigned in support of the government bailout (but now opposes it), voted for Obamacare Medicare savings (but now opposes them). Come on, GOP, is this the best we can do? I say no."

Maness said that he is "humbled" by Palin's endorsement, which he said he sought because of her record of public service.

"I am truly humbled Governor Palin would lend her credibility to a regular guy like me," Maness said in a statement. "We are winning this campaign the old-fashioned way - by putting people over politics. I've logged 50,000 miles in my Ford F-150 and visited all 64 of Louisiana's great parishes - this endorsement is just the energy we need to keep trucking!"

This is one in a string of endorsements from Palin, who has also recently thrown her support behind several other Tea Party candidates in Nebraska, Georgia, Minnesota and Oklahoma. In her endorsement, Palin noted Maness' stance against "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants and the Affordable Care Act, as well as his support of gun rights, as factors that make him a "true conservative."